By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
Every great athlete has his own unique training regimen.
For J.J. Jauregui, owner and operator of the Azteca Mexican Restaurant and Crooners Lounge on Main Street in Garden Grove, the approach is simplicity itself.
Smoking, drinking and Elvis.
Well, not really, but when the 55-year-old Garden Grove resident competes in the Orange County Marathon on May 6, he’ll be doing it with only a few compromises in his daily life.
“I can’t lie to you,” he said. “I like my cigars and I like to drink. I’m counting on Elvis to get me through this.”
Jauregui, or J.J., as he is best-known, won’t be running so much for the glory of The King as he will to benefit the Acacia Adult Services, a Garden Grove non-profit organization which provides day care and other services to the frail elderly and their families.
He’s seeking sponsors to help raise money for Acacia, and has $2200 in pledged so far. “This really resonates with me because my aunt, Connie Skipworth, suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia in her later years,” he said.
For J.J., the 26.2-mile run through Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana will be in part a leap of faith. “I’ve never run a full marathon,” says the fellow also known as “The Elvis Man” for his devotion to the superstar from Tupelo. “I don’t have a time goal in mind. My goal is just to finish.”
He started long-distance running in earnest in October of 2010. “I’ve always been a runner,” he said, “but I started running like this as a way of relieving stress. Business was getting tough, I had some personal issues” and so he took to the road.
He’s run half-marathons and recently finished a 20-mile jaunt. He knows this one will be tough. “You divide a marathon into three races; the first 13, then the next seven to get to 20 miles, then the last part. That’s when you hit the wall, you want to quit. I want Elvis to take me to the finish line.”